We recently had a run-in with someone. It is someone who we feel we have done a lot for. Maybe they don't see it that way, but we do. We feel like we have put up with so much from this person and circumstances surrounding this person. They have brought us to tears at times, but we kept giving because we really do love this person.
We have confronted them when we felt they crossed the line, and several times Van has had to go head-to-head with them. There have been times when they have seen the affect they've had on us and have apologized. Other times, they just don't get it. All they see is their perspective, and it can really hurt.
Our most recent issue occurred yesterday. Accusations were made against us that were true, but there was so much more to the story than what this person could see. Childish threats were made to us regarding their involvement in other aspects of our relationship. It made me angry. It made me want to lash out and tell them they were throwing a juvenile temper tantrum because they did not get their way, and when they were done throwing their little childish fit, they could come join us again. Kind of like I tell my six-year-old daughter sometimes.
This person proposed the way that they thought it should be. Their way infringes on our way. Their way is not bad, but there is so much to their way that makes no sense. Their way seems to be an attempt to sabotage our way. Something about that makes me want to dig my heels in and refuse to go along. It doesn't help that this person has annoyed me one too many times. It would be so much easier to go along with them if we didn't already have somewhat of a stand-off going on between us.
This morning I read Philippians 2:1-11. I already knew what it said, but I read it again because I needed to.
"If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
I do have encouragement, comfort, fellowship, tenderness, and compassion in my relationship with my Father. He is my strength and the one I can run to when other people let me down. He is my rock and has wiped many a tear from these eyes of mine.
Therefore, all my rights as a human being are met in him. Actually, he has gone beyond my rights and given me more than I deserve. I can trust him to take complete care of me, body, mind, and spirit. I do not need another person's approval or permission to be whole and complete in Him. No amount of unfairness from another person can cause God to abandon me for that person's agenda. I will rest in his unfailing love.
Because of these truths, I can give in to someone else who may not deserve my compliance. I can allow another person to be right and do things their way instead of mine. These things cannot shake who I am in Christ and what secret whisperings we share between us. He says, "You know they aren't happy. Give them a reason to smile."
I giggle and say, "They're kind of cute in their own little frustrating way, aren't they?"
Then he says something that takes my breath away. "What they've done to you, you have done to me so many times in our relationship. I have loved you and loved you and served you and served you and bent over backwards for you time and time again. Yet, you still get grouchy with me sometimes and ignore me and deny me and throw fits. You refuse to do things my way so many times because you think your way is better. You have made accusations against me that I cannot refute because they are true, but there is so much more to what I am doing that you cannot see.
Even though you have done and still do all these things to me, though, I will still choose to love you. I will still choose to serve you. I will still move heaven and earth to help you be a better person. It is not because you deserve it. It's because that's who I AM."
I answer back in a humbled whisper, "You are so right."
I will give in to them. I will do it their way. I will consider them better than myself. I will look to their interests. I will smile at them and help them to feel the unconditional love I have felt so many times before. It is not because they deserve it. It's because that's who I am.